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Mutinies in the French Army units during the Intervention in the South of Russia: French Commanders’ vision

Pavlov Andrey

The victorious end of the devastating world war was a great event for France. However, in cases where the French government still had to use military force, the cessation of hostilities and the start of a large-scale demobilization of the army created new problems. The unrest that regularly occurred in late 1918 – early 1919 in the army and navy primarily affected those units that were forced to directly participate in battles. Despite the incomparably smaller scope and intensity of hostilities, the need to risk their lives again forced the French soldiers and sailors to commit a serious violation of discipline, refusing to obey the orders of their commanders. First, this concerned the units of the army and navy that participated in the intervention in the territories of the former Russian Empire. The French command, in turn, faced with numerous examples of disobedience of subordinates, was forced to take this factor into account when making decisions at various levels. The article presents the French command perceptions and assessments of the morale of the army units that participated in the intervention in the Odessa region in December - April 1919. The analysis is based primarily on the study of various archival documents compiled by the generals and officers who directly led the troops in the theater of operations or who specially studied the situation there. The materials presented in the article allow a better understanding of the overall picture of the organization and implementation of the intervention, and the reasons for the decision to terminate it.

Keywords: France, Russian Civil War, French intervention, Bolshevik propaganda
Link: Pavlov A. Mutinies in the French Army units during the Intervention in the South of Russia: French Commanders’ vision // Annual of French Studies 2023: War and Society.М. P. 275-287.

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